Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



Copyright Circular 21 (August 2014), United States Copyright Office

Also available at


United States government work. Public domain material.


Many educators and librarians ask about the fair use and photocopying provisions of the copyright law. The United States Copyright Office cannot give legal advice or offer opinions on what is permitted or prohibited. However, we have published in this circular basic information on some of the most important legislative provisions and other documents dealing with reproduction by librarians and educators.

The Subjects Covered in This Booklet

The documentary materials collected in this circular deal with reproduction of copyrighted works by educators, librarians, and archivists for a variety of uses, including:

• Reproduction for teaching in educational institutions at all levels and

• Reproduction by libraries and archives for purposes of study, research, interlibrary exchanges, and archival preservation.

The documents reprinted here are limited to materials dealing with reproduction. Under the copyright law, reproduction can take either of two forms:

• The making of copies: by photocopying, making microform reproductions, videotaping, or any other method of duplicating visually-perceptible material and

• The making of phonorecords: by duplicating sound recordings, taping off the air, or any other method of recapturing sounds